Songs of Sacred Harp

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The story of American music is, in many ways, the story of discovery and rediscovery of blues and gospel and country rolling into rock and pop and Aaron Copeland.

But one American musical tradition is so old and so other-worldly that it's hardly ever touched the modern mainstream. It's called Sacred Harp — and the harp is the human voice, raised in something like prayer.

It started in colonial New England, and migrated south. Now its bold, haunting sound has fans all over.

This hour, On Point: the sound and story of Sacred Harp.Guests:

Matt Hinton, Sacred Harp singer and maker of the documentary "Awake, My Soul: The Story of the Sacred Harp." He also teaches religion at Morehouse College.

Tim Eriksen, singer, musician, and music historian. He's in the band Cordelia's Dad, and a founder of the largest annual Sacred Harp convention, held in Western Massachusetts.

Raymond Hamrick, Sacred Harp singer and composer. He has contributed songs to the most recent edition of the "Sacred Harp Songbook" and recently published "The Georgian Harmony, "a book of his compositions.

This program aired on April 29, 2008.


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